Express & Star

Parents outraged and out of pocket as swimming school abruptly folds

Parents are up in arms after their children's swimming school abruptly ceased trading – leaving several out of pocket.

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Independent Nemo Swim Schools told parents the company has stopped trading "with immediate effect," and that no refunds will be offered.

The company's Facebook page, which has now been taken down, previously advertised: "Lessons in Aldridge, Walsall, Worcester, Kidderminster, Wolverhampton."

A WhatsApp message was sent to parents from the company owner, Scott McKenzie, on Saturday to announce the closure.

Mr McKenzie wrote: "I have come to the extremely sad decision that I have to cease trading with immediate effect.

"For the last month I have been working tirelessly to raise enough capital to continue trading, but due to the economic crisis that we all find ourselves in, a downturn in memberships and increases in pool fees, I have no other option.

"This has been the hardest year of my life. I think you may be aware that we lost a close family member, faced an economic downturn and lost two pools equalling a loss of 300 swimmers."

Mr McKenzie went on to say that the economic crisis and the loss of his business have affected his mental health.

Mr McKenzie continued: "It's also hugely affected my mental health. Swimming and Nemo have been my passion for the last four years and I am heartbroken to be in this situation and having to write this message to you all.

"Sorry, just to confirm, we have completely ceased trading, so we cannot offer any refunds. The fees paid were used to pay staff and extra pool fees in the hope that we would be able to continue trading."

Speaking to the Express & Star on Sunday, Mr McKenzie said that he is working on organising refunds for the parents, but that it may not be "straight away".

Mr McKenzie said: "We sent a long statement out this morning, it pretty much explains everything. I've been working two or three jobs to make ends meet, it's just the cost of the economic crisis. Businesses fold every day, unfortunately.

"I didn't want this to seem like I was running away. We are working on a way to get refunds back to those who have paid. But we can't do it all straight away. We are going to work with people on this."

Parents of the group were left outraged following the closure, with many asking what would happen to the money they had paid.

One Facebook user wrote: "My son broke his arm and I was promised a refund for missed lessons."

Another Facebook user wrote: "My son has been with Nemo since it started at Aldridge four years ago, I am out of pocket £130, but more importantly I need to find a new swim class that he enjoys."